Enhanced Problem Solving Practice Aided by Computer Software Applications in Upper Division Geology Classes.

Thursday 3:30pm REC Center Large Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Course-Based Research Projects


Marek Matyjasik, Weber State University
Active learning encourages a deep understanding of the course material and helps developing conceptual thinking skills. I present my approach to active learning and problem solving in my two upper division courses Environmental Assessment and Engineering Geology. Both courses introduce relatively complex software at an early portion of both courses. Students use SlopeW software in the Engineering Geology class and Modflow/MT3D package in the Environmental Assessment class. Students become familiar with gradually more complex components of the software while they also work on their independent term paper research over the course of both classes. Students introduce and test several new concepts in various modules of the software. Multiple opportunities to practice familiar activities allow students to focus on problem solving rather than memorizing. The use of software also serves students as an honest verification of their skills and level of understanding of their newly acquired knowledge. Students receive an improved training in helping them to become lifelong learners and be competitive in a professional job market.